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SANEF distances itself from misleading article published by IOL

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The South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) has always been consistent in expressing concern about the wellbeing and welfare of journalists whose lives and livelihoods are threatened by a number of challenges beyond their control. In most cases these challenges are not of their own doing.

Over the past two years, since the outbreak of COVID-19, media workers in South Africa have lost jobs and their income as a result of newspapers and publishers buckling under the pressure of a tough economic environment. Others have had their salaries reduced over the same period as companies faced a tough choice of either cutting jobs or reducing salaries to bring down the costs of doing business.

In the same breath, SANEF has always been clear that the commercial interests and dealings of media owners are not within the scope and mandate of the organisation.

Consistent with this position, SANEF is not in a position to speculate as why major banks are closing accounts of Sekunjalo Group, the owners of Independent Media.

That is why we distance ourselves from the misleading article published by IOL on Wednesday, 20 July 2022, under the headline: “Sanef slams banks for stifling media freedom.” This headline is not only distorted, but also the article is riddled with inaccuracies and deliberate misrepresentations to create a false impression that SANEF has taken a position on Standard Bank’s decision to close down the bank accounts. Frankly SANEF does not have enough information to venture an opinion, let alone speculate about the merits of the decision.

In cases where media owners are clashing with other stakeholders – to the detriment of our colleagues’ livelihoods – ours as SANEF is to sympathise with our journalist colleagues who get caught up in the crossfire.

SANEF has faith in South Africa’s judiciary. We believe that we have a strong judiciary which is independent and equally capable to mete out justice in a fair and just manner. Any aggrieved party in a dispute should be able to get recourse through the courts.

Note to Editors:

The South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) is a non-profit organisation whose members are editors, senior journalists, and journalism trainers from all areas of the South African media. We are committed to championing South Africa’s hard-won freedom of expression and promoting quality, ethics, and diversity in the South African media. We promote excellence in journalism through fighting for media freedom, writing policy submissions, research and education and training programmes. SANEF is not a union.

For more information please contact:

Sbu Ngalwa – SANEF Chairperson (073) 404-1415

Nwabisa Makunga – SANEF Deputy Chairperson (082) 555-1972

Tshamano Makhadi – Treasurer-General (082) 223 0621

Makhudu Sefara – SANEF Media Freedom Chair (079) 177-2134

Asanda Ngoasheng – Western Cape Convenor – 082 610-9374

Judy Sandison – SANEF KZN Convenor (082) 571-3334

Dr. Glenda Daniels – SANEF Gauteng Convenor (083) 229-9708

Chiara Carter – Acting SANEF Eastern Cape Convenor (082) 659-9162

Reggy Moalusi – SANEF Executive Director (071) 682-3695

Twitter: @SAEditorsForum

Email: [email protected]